How to Choose the Right HVAC Certification Course near Flowing Wells Arizona
Once you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioner professional, the next step is to locate an HVAC technical school near Flowing Wells AZ. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick the best one to receive the training that you require? A number of future students will make their selection based exclusively on the cost of tuition or how close the school is to their residence. Although these are important concerns, they are not the only ones to evaluate. Just some of the other things that you need to look into are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. Those and other criteria will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we explore how to pick an HVAC technical school, let's take a look at what a heating and cooling professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Technician
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the industry that stands for "Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning". HVAC contractors provide services for the installation, maintenance and repair of central air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are commonly required to be licensed, although each state and regional municipality has its own criteria. Acquiring professional certification is not mandatory, but a voluntary way for Flowing Wells AZ HVAC techs to establish that they are highly qualified and experienced in their area of expertise. There are many recognized certifications within the industry that are offered. Here are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally acknowledged certification for HVAC technicians. The certification is earned by passing a proficiency examination and may be acquired in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification makes available both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists need to have 3 years of experience in addition to a passing score on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are offered in various specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is mandatory for techs that handle refrigerants. There are three forms of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Because licensing might be mandated in your area, and you may also wish to earn certification, it's imperative that you choose an HVAC trade school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be dealing with refrigerants, make certain that the program you pick readies you for passing the EPA Section 608 examinations.
HVAC Degree and Certificate Schools
There are several alternatives available for HVAC instruction in a technical or vocational school. You can earn a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor's Degree. Earning a certificate will take the least period of time, usually completed in just six months, although some courses are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will furnish more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Below is a short explanation of each credential offered near Flowing Wells AZ.
- Certificate. Generally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are preferred among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They furnish a solid foundation of skills for employment within the industry.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more extensive background of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Generally requiring 2 years to complete, some degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor's Degree in HVAC is geared more towards a career in management as well as business ownership. Some programs call for an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to learning how to service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems, you will also learn how to design them.
Selecting the right credential program will be dependent on what your future career aspirations are, together with the time and money that you have to commit. One option is to start with a certificate or perhaps an Associate Degree program, and after acquiring some experience in the trade in Flowing Wells AZ, subsequently going back to obtain a Bachelor's Degree. If this is your strategy, be sure to ask the HVAC technician school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Online Training
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one approach in obtaining your training and receiving a degree or certificate. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete practical training. Many also provide internship or work-study programs in addition to or instead of practical lab work. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended on the web, this option may be a more accessible solution for some Flowing Wells AZ students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even driving expenses from Flowing Wells and study materials may be lessened, helping to make schooling more economical. And a large number of online schools are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family responsibilities have left you with little time to attend classes, maybe an online HVAC degree program will make it easier to accommodate school into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask HVAC Schools
Once you have chosen the type of degree or certificate that you wish to obtain, either on campus or online, you can begin to narrow down your selection of schools. As you are certainly aware, there are a large number of HVAC trade schools in the Flowing Wells AZ area and across the United States to pick from. That's why it is very important to have a list of key qualifications when making school assessments. As earlier mentioned in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will most likely be the initial 2 variables you will consider. Following are several additional ones that you need to research before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. A large number of HVAC trade programs in the Flowing Wells AZ area have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Verify that the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the HVAC schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Flowing Wells AZ HVAC employers to assist students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of HVAC vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the HVAC specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flowing Wells AZ HVAC contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Flowing Wells AZ residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flowing Wells AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Get Your Heating and Cooling Training and Certification
Enrolling in the ideal HVAC school program is a crucial beginning toward a rewarding career in the heating and cooling field. As we have addressed in this article, you need to choose a Heating and Cooling training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the HVAC trade. Other factors to look for are ample practical training and modern facilities. You need to go to each of the schools personally that you are most interested in to tour the campus and talk with both the current students and faculty. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the instruction and the interaction between them. Also, ask about scheduling choices and whether or not night or weekend classes are offered if needed. And remember to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options too. If you ask the right questions as we have detailed in our guidelines for evaluating schools, you'll be able to filter your choices so that you can make an informed decision. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can ultimately become a licensed HVAC technician in Flowing Wells AZ.